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American School in London vs. Thomas's Battersea

(38 Posts)
NewLondonMom1 Wed 01-Mar-17 18:22:40


We are an American family moving to London in June. My girls got into both the American School in London and Thomas's Battersea (and also at Eaton Square, Chepstow House - but we felt like Thomas's was the best choice amongst them). My girls would go into Year 5 and Year 2 in the British school system and Grade 4 and Grade 1 in the American School system. We are moving as expats and expecting to spend 3 years in London, but you never know where that goes.

We would love your perspective on the two schools. Specifically we are interested in understanding how they do academically. The American School did not feel very academically rigorous, but I could be totally wrong about that.

When we return to the US my older one will be in middle school there and I want to make sure she doesn't fall behind.

JamDonutsRule Wed 01-Mar-17 21:00:48

Thomas's & Eaton Square are certainly rigorous on academics, I really don't think you could be disappointed!

NewLondonMom1 Thu 02-Mar-17 02:20:15

JamDonutsRule - do you have kids in either school? Also curious about the American school. Is thay considered rigorous?

NewLondonMom1 Thu 02-Mar-17 02:20:49

Thank you for your help with this process! I feel so lost in the British system!

CruCru Thu 02-Mar-17 09:48:58

Hello, I have friends with children at the American School. I don't know Thomas's (I live in North East London).

My friends are extremely happy with ASL. It is very different from a British school so I would struggle to compare them. I've heard that to Londoners, it feels like a very "American" school while to people moving from the US, it comes across as rather like an international school.

One advantage is that your children wouldn't have to fit in to a new school system (the US and British systems are quite different).

NewLondonMom1 Fri 03-Mar-17 03:50:01

Thank you for your perspective!
How is ASL academically?

CruCru Fri 03-Mar-17 10:44:45

As far as I know, it is very good (and quite broad). However, as I don't have first hand experience of it, I wouldn't know how to compare it to a British school.

NewLondonMom1 Fri 03-Mar-17 11:32:06

That's helpful. Thank you!

Needmoresleep Fri 03-Mar-17 13:57:43

It is not uncommon for American expatriates to find their contracts extended. If this is a possibility, and you might be looking at London senior schools Thomas' Battersea is your best option. It will regularly send children to London's most academic schools.

My understanding is that children returning to the States after schools like Thomas' often find themselves ahead academically. And top selective secondary schools have some stunning results with US college entrance.

JamDonutsRule Sun 05-Mar-17 18:23:32

I don't have kids at either school but I've looked at them both. I really feel the standard of education at both is excellent, although I felt Thomas's had particularly excellent SEN & catch-up provision.

NewLondonMom1 Mon 06-Mar-17 18:39:20

Thank you all for the perspective.

What is 'catch-up provision'?

Michaelahpurple Mon 06-Mar-17 21:04:38

My (second hand) understanding is that the ASL is not considered top flight e.g. The Cobham American school is considered better , at least that is what I hear from American friends making similar compositions.

There are loads and loads of Americans at Thomas's battersea - I think they have seized control of the PTA smile so you would have a good network of other Americans, plus others.

My understanding is that transfer back in primary and middle school is very easy as london indies will have them well ahead then. Thereafter I suspect it gets harder as the styles diverge.

DonkeyofDoom Mon 06-Mar-17 22:53:44

I know several of the teachers at ASL and they are all excellent. They send a decent number to Ivy League colleges every year. For my money I'd go ASL every time. If you choose a British school you will enter the nightmare that is the 11+. I'd stay in the US system if you're all Americans. The British system at secondary level is vastly different and goes far narrower but much deeper. You need to be happy with a 14 year old who will never take another history class etc.

NewLondonMom1 Tue 07-Mar-17 12:34:53

Great perspective from all of you. Thank you so much for the guidance.

Needmoresleep Tue 07-Mar-17 13:00:00

Donkey, I think you are being a bit negative. For posts elsewhere, I wonder if something has gone wrong with your London experience.

Selective London schools do just fine with US applications. DD is 18 and I think that at her school, of about 25 applicants, 60% were successful with Early Decision, with eight eventually gong to Harvard and others to equally prestigious schools like Stanford, Yale and MIT.

From observation many students aiming for the US are simply careful in their GCSE and A level choices, to retain the breadth needed. Or opt for secondaries offering IB like Godolphin and Latymer, or Kings College School. Academic London schools often expect pupils to take four rather than three A levels so they have more variety anyway.

The British system really does seem to suit the natural mathematician or scientist. It does happen that expat children who had always assumed that they would return to the US for college end up remaining in the UK, and the chance to study economics, law, medicine or engineering at undergraduate level before returning to the US for post grad.

Michaelahpurple Tue 07-Mar-17 14:26:01

The depth vs breadth point is a valid one. Although I know quite a few children who have gone to US schools from A levels, perhaps targeting an IB school does make sense, if going the UK route.

Michaelahpurple Tue 07-Mar-17 14:28:52

And they are interesting ages, at least the eldest. If you really definitely went back after 3 years your eldest would nearly run to year 8 at prep school. But if you were to stay on, you would need to have another follow-on option, and I am not sure how much choice there is for 13+ entry for girls at london day schools , which would send you back to doing 11+ in her first year and only spending a year at Thomas's.

Something of a complication.

NewLondonMom1 Tue 07-Mar-17 14:30:54

Needmoresleep - What school does your DD go to?

I think the IB option is definitely an interesting one to consider later on.

Needmoresleep Tue 07-Mar-17 15:18:41

My daughter went to Westminster for sixth form (the last two years), leaving last year. She tells me that US candidates did so well in her year, possibly the best results of any school world-wide, that there was an article, which I did not manage to find, in somewhere like the New York Times. However there are several other academic London or boarding schools who regularly do very well.

There is quite a big movement at this point, with girls in particular swapping to mixed sixth forms, and those aiming for American Universities picking schools with good experience of applications. As well as London days schools, boarders will go to Sevenoaks or ASC Cobham, or international schools like Southbank. Several of these offer IB, rather than the very specialist A level.

In short you can go to Thomas'. They prepare students well for competitive entry to secondary. You make sure your child opts for a good range of subjects at GCSE (16). Then think hard about the last two years. If they are very bright, try for one of the very academic sixth forms (if they are not there already). If not try for an IB school like ASC Cobham or Southbank.

If they return to the US they will not be behind.

There are fewer 13+ places for girls, but it is not normally a problem. There will be some movement, not least because some London girls will choose to board at 13+, and secondary schools often prefer girls who have been at somewhere like Thomas' and who will up to speed, than girls coming in from overseas.

DonkeyofDoom Tue 07-Mar-17 18:49:57

I didn't mean it to be negative. I was pointing out the differences as they are very big ones between the two systems. I have attended University/College in both the UK and the US at an undergrad and post grad level. We have loads of American friends who have struggled transitioning kids between the two systems so I do think it's worthwhile to point out how they differ. Thinking through those differences and finding what matters to the OP I would think was helpful? My experience of London has been just fine, thanks.

BeanBabies Tue 07-Mar-17 18:53:26

I have a friend who graduated from ASL recently. It's a great school, less pressure than some others and more relaxed. They accepted a student from my school who was asked to leave due to some ridiculous drug scandal (one mother had it in for her son's friend and demanded he was expelled for drugs after he took the fall for her son) and he loved ASL. Said it was way more his vibe, despite there being more work.

Lizzzar Mon 20-Mar-17 02:46:08

If money is not an issue and you are definitely planning to return to the US in 3 or 4 years, my choice would definitely be the American school. ASL and and Thomas's are both good schools, but Thomas's will be more focused on the next stage of UK education and CE, while the American school has an American curriculum and will therefore be mean that their American education can continue pretty smoothly. Preparing for CE is fine if you are going to stay in the UK, but otherwise pretty pointless.

Lizzzar Mon 20-Mar-17 02:54:03

Sevenoaks does the IB and is pretty international. Marymount also does the IB and has good results on the whole I believe ( not as well known as Sevenoaks). They could probably move on to both from Thomas's. However, if you are most likely going back, I still think ASL would be the most obvious choice.

Lizzzar Mon 20-Mar-17 03:30:24

Sorry for any grammatical errors in the above. Also, while UK schools like Sevenoaks and Westminster obviously do have an excellent record for US college entrance, ASL regularly does very well too, with frequent Ivy League acceptances. So it is really down to how long you will be probably staying and which system you prefer.

NewLondonMom1 Sat 25-Mar-17 12:09:45

Thank you all for the helpful advice and guidance on schools!

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